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The Night Before [2015] [R] - 8.4.10



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


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After a drunk driver kills his parents at Christmastime, a musician (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) celebrates the holiday with his two best friends (Seth Rogen and Anthony Mackie) every year for a decade. As one of them prepares himself for impending fatherhood, the friends go out for a final massive Christmas Eve adventure. Also with Michael Shannon, Lizzy Caplan, Jillian Bell and Mindy Kalig. Directed by Jonathan Levine. [1:41]

SEX/NUDITY 8 - In a bar's dirty washroom a man and a woman (in T-shirts and panties) have sex: he holds her behind and thrusts while shouting as she is bending over in the stall across the closed toilet (her panties are still on), then he sits on the toilet lid and she sits backwards in his lap and bounces (we see a little cleavage along with her bare legs), and then he stands against a wall and she stands in front of him as they thrust together and they exit the washroom, patting down their hair and arranging their jacket and sweater.
 A man under the influence of drugs (please see the Substance Use category for more details) ends up with a woman's cell phone and participates in a long texting session with another man who sends eight photos of his penis (we briefly see at least three of them in erection and the rest in semi-erection); the second man asks via text for the holder of the phone to perform oral sex that night causing the first man to panic, but he then considers the proposition; the first man says that two of the second man's limp penis picture make him aroused and the two men meet, talk about penises and dance with a woman between them; then the second man kisses and licks the cheek of the first man and says, "This bromance is getting me hot," asks the woman to go home with him, and the scene ends.
 A woman in a strip club is topless in a brief scene. A man in a strip club hallucinates a woman wearing a bikini and we see bare buttocks, cleavage and bare midriff. A hallucination of a man's wife says a woman dancing is their grown daughter and the wife eggs on the daughter to dance more suggestively as she throws currency at her. A man at home in his bathroom has one buttock and thigh bare and aimed at the camera as he injects steroids (please see the Substance Use category for more details). A few scenes show women wearing tight-fitting, low-cut and some backless blouses and dresses that reveal moderate cleavage and midriff skin; a few of the dresses are very tight and short, revealing full bare legs to the top of the thighs.
 Two women with long hair covering their faces kiss for several seconds as they stand in a corner in a club. A man and a woman kiss for several seconds and she invites him in to meet her parents; the man says, "I thought you were inviting me to come have sex" and laughs. A husband and his wife kiss briefly at dinner at home. Men and women kiss hello at a party.
 A man steals invitations to a secret party, calls the number on the cards and hears a recording making sexual references. A man goes to his girlfriend's house where he asks to meet her parents and she says, "I thought you don't do parents" and he replies, "I'll do your parents" and she jokes about a sexual position. A clothed woman is pregnant and we see her large belly in several scenes; in one scene, a man says, "You look so big!" At a large party a man sings on stage, kneels, and proposes to his girlfriend in the audience; she accepts, but once outside, she says no and they argue.

VIOLENCE/GORE 4 - A snow covered gravesite surrounded by men and women wearing black shows two coffins and we hear that a drunk driver killed a 19-year-old man's parents at Christmas.
 Two men wearing Santa Claus outfits stand outside a bar, talking about how stupid Christmas is when another man walks past, stops, and yells at the two Santas for spoiling Christmas traditions that mean a lot to people; the Santas mock him, he punches one of them, and the two Santas beat him with their fists, leaving one side of his face red and bruised. A fistfight breaks out at a large party and a man takes the stem of a broken glass and stabs it through another man's hand (no blood is seen) and the stabbed man screams while two other men begin fighting with other men and shouting until the first man and the last two men escape unharmed.
 Three men in a limo have the driver pursue a woman who is on foot; the driver screams and drives erratically, one of the men exits the vehicle and chases the woman on foot through alleys and up fire escapes until they stop and argue and she purposely falls backwards from a ledge into a large container of trash bags, unhurt and escapes. Three men steal a sleigh, but it breaks apart, dragging one man by a leather rein through the street (he looks dirty but unharmed).
 In the dirty washroom of a bar, after becoming intoxicated with drugs (please see the Substance Use category for more details), a man swallows a final handful of pills and begins yelling loudly into his cell phone, recording a message for his unborn daughter; he shouts that he and his wife should put the baby in a bag and throw it down some stairs or leave the bag somewhere to get rid of her, he calls the baby obscene names and when the man's wife listens to the message later, she laughs. A man talks with the human and animal figures in a life size Christmas nativity scene outside a cathedral and they answer him; his wife walks up, cursing, and tells him to leave and find his friends before her family arrives.
 Three men take the abandoned car of a drug dealer and drive away as the dealer appears on the sidewalk, sprouts giant angel wings and flies into the sky. In a drug-induced hallucination, a woman looks like a dragon to her husband (she has green wrinkly skin, a yellow horn above her nose, and claws on green hands); she laughs and roars when he tells her how she looks to him.
 During Christmas Eve mass a man becomes sick when he see a figure of Christ on a cross, gags and begins to vomit; his wife says, "Swallow it like a girl," which he does, but he gets up and mumbles, "Where's the barf bag," and then vomits yellow and brown material onto the floor and calls out obscenities and shouts, "We did not kill Jesus!" From off-screen, three men urinate into snow and we see the streams in close-up. A man suffers a nosebleed; a few drops of blood fall into a woman's red drink and she shouts at him and storms off.

PROFANITY 10 - At least 150 F-words and its derivatives (including a close-up of a baby's face in church saying the F-word), 3 obscene hand gestures, 19 sexual references, 24 scatological terms, 28 anatomical terms, 8 mild obscenities, name-calling (drunk, crazy, stupid, dumb, dumb-dumb, douche, crackheads, freaky, pseudo-racist), 30 religious exclamations (e.g. Our Lord And Savior Jesus Christ, Oh Holy God, Heavenly Father, Oh Jesus [F-word deleted] Me, Merry [F-word deleted] Christmas, It's [F-word deleted] Christmas). [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - We hear that a football star uses steroids that enhance his game and we see him inject his buttock with a clear fluid, a football player admits to friends that he uses steroids, a man smokes a marijuana cigarette in two flashbacks, a woman gives her husband a box full of drugs (including marijuana, hashish, Chronic, depressants, caps, mushrooms and other hallucinogenic drugs) and over a few hours he ingests different drugs and hallucinates (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details), a man in a washroom snorts several types of white powder and suffers a nosebleed, a man says that he can fly and that he is high and buzzed, a man tells three men that he (a drug dealer) is proud of them for continuing to use drugs, a drug dealer lights and puffs on one of two pipes of marijuana for a customer and each customer also smokes and experiences a blurry aura around his head, two men purchase marijuana from a dealer, a ball the size of a beach ball at a party breaks open and drugs fall out into a pile of pills and marijuana cigarettes and capsules, a woman tells her adult son that he smells like weed, a man gives a younger man a marijuana cigarette after lighting and puffing it and the second man smokes and hallucinates, and a man sprouts wings and flies away while smoking a joint (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details). Three men drink shots of a clear liquor in a couple of bar scenes, three men sit at a bar and drink beer from glasses in close-up, a woman walks into a bar and announces that a secret party is about to begin with large quantities of free alcohol and drugs, a man pours whiskey into a glass of eggnog and spills some before drinking the eggnog, three men open beer bottles that overflow onto the floor of a Red Bull Hummer limo, we see bottles of clear liquor and cans of Red Bull around shelves in the back of a limo, a man in two flashback scenes brings out a pint flask of whiskey and drinks from it, three men at a karaoke bar sing and dance as people around them drink beer from bottles, two men wearing Santa outfits say they are on a Santa Claus pub-crawl outside a bar, a large club feature men and women drinking cocktails and wines while women carry trays of mixed drinks, and six glasses of wine are seen on a table at a holiday dinner (no one drinks). Two men smoke cigars at a party, and a man dressed as Santa Claus smokes a cigar outside a bar.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Becoming an adult, illegal drugs, bad drug trips/hallucinations, drug dealers, steroid use among athletes, buying friendship, fantasy, death, loss, loneliness, fear, fame, success, family, relationships, friendship, parenting, responsibility, religions.

MESSAGE - Male friendships centered on recreational drugs, alcohol, and video games may be long lasting, but are immature.

Special Keywords: S8 - V4 - P10 - MPAAR

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

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